Kentucky Firefighter Suspended for Alleged Hate Crime

PLEASURE RIDGE PARK, Ky. --

A Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department captain is off the job and under investigation for committing an alleged hate crime.

A police source, who asked not to be identified, told WLKY that Capt. Robert Heil showed up for work recently wearing Klan robes and that detectives were investigating whether it was a practical joke gone wrong or an actual hate crime.

Maggie Neutz, chairperson of the PRP fire board, wouldn't acknowledge the specifics of the allegations. But, Neutz said she had received a complaint from another firefighter about Heil's conduct.

"Any of these complaints we do take very seriously and do make sure that we do a thorough investigation, make sure we've got our facts correct and we go from that point on," she said.

Neutz said she immediately suspended Heil without pay and forwarded the complaints to Metro Police.

"It's very difficult, but we'll make sure we have all the facts and that we will follow through and get it taken care of as quickly as possible," she said.

PRP resident Thelda Mason said she was surprised by the allegations.

"I don't call it a crime," she said. "I call it poor judgement on his part."

Mason said if the allegations are true, she hopes it doesn't reflect on the citizens of PRP.

"I don't think he should have worn that to work," she said. "That's being disrespectable (sic) for one thing. I wouldn't have worn it to work. If he wanted to wear it in his own yard, fine, but not to work."

When reached at his home Tuesday afternoon, Heil declined to comment and referred WLKY to his attorney, Marvin O'Koon.

O'Koon told WLKY that he hadn't officially seen the allegations and therefore couldn't respond to them.

Heil is the second PRP firefighter suspended in recent days. A few weeks ago, the department suspended David Mattingly after police arrested him on child abuse charges.

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